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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Guest Commentary

Re: “Guest Opinion

I recently spent a long while with my father as he died and previously did so with my mother. Each had progressive, chronic conditions. My mother experienced extreme pain which was inexpertly managed at the end of a five year illness, while my father experienced episodes of severe confusion. Each had a difficult journey punctuated with many moments of love and quality and even wonder. We were extremely fortunate to have loving caregivers who made all the difference. As a speech-language pathologist, I have worked in nursing homes and have seen human beings warehoused. I have seen people have frightening, painful passings when they were treated callously. I understand the wish for control over one's own passing. I also understand the exhaustion that can come for even loving family members as they care for a dying person.

I am troubled by the issues implicit in this legislation. It is easy to envision a society in which many physicians would be likely to prescribe a lethal dose of drugs rather than to refer patients for palliative care. Palliative care, and for that matter. extended rehabilitation, take time, effort and financial resources. Not all families would rather care for a loved one during an extended illness than say a quicker, more "realistic" goodbye. I am not by any means an advocate for use of heroic measures or extended life support in the case of terminal illness. But I believe that individuals should make that decision through advance directives. Once one is ill, it is very difficult to avoid being pressured in one way or another.

In Germany, euthanasia for elders and for the disabled was first carefully presented as a compassionate option. Only after society had accepted this was it implemented with steadily increasing brutality and this was the context in which Zyklon B was first tested. In such a society, the developmentally disabled individuals with whom I have worked for many years would all be assigned to "special treatment", based upon the view that they waste government resources.

I , too, would like to die in my sleep without pain. However, based upon what I have seen over the years, this is doubtful.. I can only hope that someone with a compassionate heart and medical skills eases my journey--but not by euthanasia. Even if that were to spare me pain, I fear that I would be helping to lay the groundwork for the violation of the rights of elders and the disabled who have the desire and the right to live.

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Sharon Hendrickson-Pfeil on 12/25/2015 at 1:29 AM

Re: “Guest Opinion

I am not sure I agree with you, but I appreciate the perspective.

As with most issues, there is no clear-cut black or white. It is worth the discussion.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by lc69hunter on 12/24/2015 at 1:23 PM

Re: “Guest Opinion

It is a beautifully written piece, and I am so sorry for your suffering.

I worked as a hospice CNA for years. I know for sure that quality of life for those dying slowly is completely eliminated. Are we talking a five-year old girl getting preventative testing here or someone slowly dying from an agonizing, certainly fatal condition?

Experience? Work as a line staff in a warehouse for the lonely dying. Sometimes it isn't just a concrete chute but merely an eddy under the water, capable of easing the pain, returning the floater home a little more easily, that the sufferer seeks.

Compassion is not always wishing life on someone.

12 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Serena Simi on 12/24/2015 at 7:54 AM

Re: “Guest Opinion

Thank you for this beautifully written piece. What we advocate is OPTIONS and CHOICE. May you die the way you wish, and may I be granted the same privilege. Aid in Dying is just that let me live and die MY WAY.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by LOLASMOM on 12/24/2015 at 5:20 AM

Re: “Guest Opinion

Having watched as so many die over a 40 year career as a nurse. Having watched as so many died in my family, starting at age 6. Having seen so many struggle with chronic, even though not fatal, but so debilitating disease.....there are absolutely NO simple answers here, or anywhere.
I firmly believe that chronic/nearly terminal/terminal illnesses MUST be approached with the focus on the patient's wishes, & their family & significant others. As bizarre as it seems at the moment, so many, many DO NOT make plans, give guidanc tor their loved ones as they approach their final moments, and certainly, nothing legal to give guidance. All too many times, what I've heard is "you know what I want" to be completly dissected by oposing viewpoints not familiar to all the family members.
As a retired nurse, as a family member, as a friend who has so often witnessed the struggle of the dying and their families, I have to repeat, once again, PLEASE TALK TO YOUR LOVED ONES ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT TO DO/HAVE/ NOT HAVE, when dying. Otherwise, you & your loved one's wishes will be taken out of your hands, including the Do Not Resuscitate orders.

10 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by tiredofpc on 12/24/2015 at 5:04 AM

Re: “Guest Opinion

I watched my nephew die of MS. No one, should have to suffer like he did, it's not compassionate nor human. We treat animals better.

11 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jim Kelly on 12/23/2015 at 9:35 PM

Re: “Guest Opinion

Thank you for a beautifully written article. Holding my loved one as she died in my arms from many illnesses, I know the "letting go" of the process. Both of us let go and I continued without her. It was hard for the first years, but now in the 5th year since her passing, I am happy to be alive and productive. Thanks again for a poignant piece on a topic too many want to avoid.

8 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by MsKlep on 12/23/2015 at 8:00 PM

Re: “Guest Opinion

My body, my choice.

13 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Fishfry on 12/23/2015 at 7:58 PM

Re: “Guest Opinion

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Posted by Samara Smathers on 12/01/2015 at 1:52 PM

Re: “Guest Opinion

but what your friends in Colorado didn't know is that Southern Arizona.......The City of Tucson and Pima County is left of SF and Seattle!

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Jeffrey Engelbert on 10/30/2015 at 9:09 AM

Re: “Guest Opinion

I'm so glad someone is bringing this up here. Bravo! Please have this guest columnist back - maybe a regular column? Thank you Katherine.

1 like, 4 dislikes
Posted by Kendra on 10/29/2015 at 8:45 PM

Re: “Guest Opinion

Fantastic article! Keep it up! Write more!

1 like, 4 dislikes
Posted by J.T. Cardwell on 10/29/2015 at 6:07 PM

Re: “Guest Opinion

Well said!

1 like, 5 dislikes
Posted by Jeffrey Patten on 10/29/2015 at 1:10 PM

Re: “Guest Opinion

This is a valid criticism of how modernism played out in Tucson, but the irony is that modernism was rooted in the idea of inexpensive, good design available to all. One of the grandfathers of modernism, Gerrit Reitveld, famously took the crates that expensive custom furniture was delivered in and used the material to fashion a line of easy to build, simple but good looking furniture. The origin of the modern movement was in the Bauhaus, a movement and organization that turned its back on fancy and costly adornment and sought to bring good simple design to everyone. Corbusier was far more interested in designing public housing than fancy furniture. Many of the founders of modernism would find the costly stylization that later marked the movement to be antithetical to their own principles, rooted as they were in early 20th century social democracy. Plywood, concrete, post and beam, glass brick, these were cheap ways to build beautiful things. Modernism was meant to be an artistic mass movement, to free people from the consumerism of disposable fashion, not a status symbol machine to produce disposable fashion. That said, now that modern architecture exists in Tucson, the best thing to do is embrace it, restore it, and avoid another hideous cycle of destruction, redevelopment and bubble economics.

22 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Spencer Windes on 10/24/2015 at 7:47 PM

Re: “Guest Opinion

An environment was ripe for the harvest. The neglect of the habitants to realize the bounty is whose fault? Would Tucson be a better place if Donkey carts were the means of transportation? Tucson is today because of what was. Perhaps it would be better if the desert had overtaken its boundaries and left hints of its past like a Mayan Ruin for future inquisitors? Its a fucking golden age for all especially for La Familia Otero. History , check it out.....

4 likes, 27 dislikes
Posted by mboston on 10/24/2015 at 4:35 PM

Re: “Guest Opinion

If her quote is correct, Nintzel said it was a golden era for Tucson. Did he say "Golden era for architecture?" If he didn't, then she's right. She seems to be responding to him, not Modernism Week organizers. There are no golden days hidden amid Tucson's Anglo-centric past. Most of the 20th century was a period of cultural genocide here, including architecture. Yes, we should celebrate architecture and preserve it, but let's not try to redefine our history. That architecture exists largely because rich developers destroyed something else to build it.

21 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by BPoole on 10/24/2015 at 11:25 AM

Re: “Guest Opinion

When you use code words like "east side" you really discredit the many Americans of Mexican descent that earned the right to afford to live there through hard work and perseverance.

Why do you do that to us?

7 likes, 27 dislikes
Posted by El Guapo on 10/23/2015 at 4:47 PM

Re: “Guest Opinion

Modernism week celebrates a style of architecture, that's all. Your commentary unfolds into a much broader theme that has nothing to do with Modernism Week or the people who put it on. In fact, they most likely would agree with you on most of the points you make in your opinion piece. Tucson Historical Preservation is committed to saving all architectural styles associated with the rich cultural heritage of Tucson's past. Modernism Week represents only one part of that history. As a life-long fan of Modernism I am aware many people don't appreciate it - or even know how to look at it (I'm not suggesting the author is guilty of the latter), so I'm compelled to voice my opposition to the notion that preservation is exclusively reserved for older, decorative styles.

18 likes, 29 dislikes
Posted by urnumber6 on 10/23/2015 at 9:25 AM

Re: “Guest Opinion

I grew up in the "Golden Age" of SEX - after penicillin and before AIDS!

5 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Claudia Splick Larson on 10/22/2015 at 7:29 AM

Re: “Guest Opinion

Great job, and I love the book.

45 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Italdo on 10/22/2015 at 6:52 AM

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